Getting outside and active may not be the cure for all that ails you, but it sure can help.
And through the month of May it can also help Coquitlam Rotary raise funds for programs it supports, like bursaries for graduating students, distributing food hampers and helping Share Family and Community Services Society.
Rotary Rush is a month-long virtual walk and run that encourages participants to improve their physical and mental well-being by signing on to complete a total cumulative distance from five to 150 kms.
Dr. Brooke Lewis, a registered clinical counsellor in Coquitlam, said there’s no better way to get your head in the right place than by moving your legs. That’s been especially true over the course of the past year, when public health measures to limit transmission of COVID-19 shuttered gyms, restricted sports and fitness options and isolated everyone from their usual social interactions.
Lewis said exercise helps regulate our emotions, smooths the daily roller coaster of ups and downs, fosters clear thinking and better decision making.
“When we’re out of our window of emotional regulation, all of those things become more difficult, there’s a higher level of distress,” Lewis said.
But the challenges of navigating the pandemic this past year has stripped away many coping strategies, while piling on additional strains of loss and grief.
“We can’t be tribal,” Lewis said. “We’re social beings, we’re meant to be connected with others.”
So it’s little wonder, she added, that people have sought solace in parks, on hiking trails or aboard a bike. We may not be able to connect with friends or loved ones, but at least we can connect with our natural surroundings.
“Luckily we live in such a beautiful area,” Lewis said. “That sense of escape is enhanced when you’re walking in nature.”
So when her fellow Rotarians were casting about for new ways to raise money in the midst of a public health crisis, getting people active safely seemed a natural match.
“We are a self-sufficient club, we need to raise our own funds for projects,” Lewis said, adding the wide range of distance challenges allows pretty much anyone to participate at their own comfort level. “This promotes health and wellness and it’s also family-friendly.”
To sign up for Rotary Rush, go to www.rotaryrush.com. A portion of the registration fee goes to Rotary’s programs and you can also collect pledges.